How can I lose weight?
This is one of the questions I’m most commonly asked.
There are some benefits to maintaining a healthy weight. Weight regulation or weight loss can play a role in preventing injury, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity and chronic illnesses.
Many of us think of weight management as an end in itself. Often, though, when we’re having a hard time regulating or losing weight, it’s a symptom that something else is out of balance.
This is why maintaining optimal weight is not as simple as calories in versus calories out. Many people mistakenly hold the idea that if they exercise more and eat less, they will lose weight. This is what I was taught in medical school. As we age, and certainly for those over 40, weight loss becomes more complicated.
Many factors help us optimize metabolic systems and achieve optimal weight. Stress, inflammation, poor thyroid function, hormone imbalance, liver dysfunction, mitochondrial damage and endocrine disruption–often due to toxin exposure–can all cause weight gain. I’ve been amazed at how these seemingly subtle factors can have big impacts.
Exercise and calorie restriction can actually make it *harder* to lose weight, especially when we don’t address root cause.
Today I’ll address just one factor in weight gain: leptin resistance.
Leptin is a hormone, produced by the body’s fat cells, that regulates body weight. The leptin system evolved to keep humans from starving or overeating. The main function of leptin is to send a signal to the brain to indicate how much fat is stored in the body. Leptin resistance happens when the brain can’t perceive the fat in the body; it’s thought to be one of the main contributors to obesity.
When the body is leptin resistant, the brain encourages you to eat more and exercise less. Leptin resistance is likely caused by high levels of leptin, inflammation and elevated free fatty acids. If you are having trouble losing weight, leptin is likely involved.
So what do you do next? Thankfully, we have tools.
The first step might be to determine what’s at play. In the case of leptin resistance, elevated triglycerides can contribute to leptin resistance, so I might test for those. Mycotoxins may elevate leptin, I could also consider exploring biotoxin illness. For the majority of North Americans, stress, inflammation and mitochondrial health will also contribute. So an anti-inflammatory food plan, some stress management techniques and mitochondrial support can have outsized results.
If you’d like support in figuring out your next steps, get in touch with our office.
What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?